Everyone knows Renee,
Who made the flight to Jupiter
In a craft barely bigger than my bedroom.
Everyone knows Amelia, and how she disappeared
over a raging ocean or
In a cloud or
Nose down in a place
We still haven’t found
And sometimes her story feels like mine,
or how it’s meant to end.
You know, a flight fueled by hubris
on a calculated course to wreckage.
But the stories we forget often tell
The truths we seek;
Those who flew against stiff winds
in centuries before me
chart the course for me to fly unquestioned.
I can take this helm and write our names on the stars
in trails of light,
my maneuvers undefeatable,
flight times unbeatable.
Hell, break my head and I’ll
come back armored up and ready for more.
Did you not expect that?
You haven’t been listening.
the first of us to break the speed of sound
Against the advice of almost
Everyone she knew?
I swagger but am I that bold?
If I was told no, would I go where they’d say yes?
Remember the Mercury Thirteen, those women of the sky,
denied the chance to set boots on the moon.
tests dreamt up by madmen in white rooms,
pushed to dizzying limits they didn’t know they had,
a battery of shock tests and vertigo.
Would I have passed?
Only to be told no again?
Wally didn’t orbit Earth till she was 82.
Would I last that long?
Hold out hope till I could see the moon up close,
the silver of my hair matching the color of its face?
I throw fists, give rough kisses,
Run my mouth like an engine
But I wonder, would I be this way
If I had even once been told “you can’t”?
I’ll never know.
My world is boundless opportunity
Restrained only by
The limits of my own belief.
I stand at the end of an invisible lineage
Of forgotten names
Whose mere existence humbles me.
So let me take this helm and write their names in light
In all the places they could never go,
Shoot off into uncharted black and blue
On wings they left behind for me.